I don’t think any words or a blog post will ever do justice to our experiences at St. Kizito’s or the emotions that ran through our heads when we had to say goodbye to them on Wednesday. Tearful goodbyes and a hundred hugs from the children left us heartbroken as the van pulled away from the school. We didn’t realize how invested our hearts had become or how much our time with them had affected us. God has done some beautiful things at St. Kizito’s this past year. As Wanjoi told me as we said goodbye, this wouldn’t be so hard if there weren’t something deeper, something beyond six college students visiting some orphans for the day. There is much more to our connection with St. Kizito’s than that.
Our plans to provide shoes to every child at St. Kizito’s fell through with the wrong order of all adult size shoes that Buckner International sent to us, and our attempts to correct the problem or find more kids shoes proved to be an exhausting process in which nothing turned out right. We took the reimbursement of $400 from Buckner, bought school supplies for the kids, and headed to St. Kizito’s with the intention of washing every child’s feet, putting new socks on them, and distributing school supplies among the classrooms.
We set to work as soon as we arrived and set up benches and buckets of water. Starting with the older kids, we explained the purpose of washing another person’s feet. We told them about how Jesus washed his disciple’s feet in an act of complete humility and service. Child by child, we pulled off their worn shoes and removed their tattered socks. We washed each foot and replaced the old socks with new, clean socks. It was such a beautiful experience that represented the complete grace and humility in our Savior, who washes our feet daily. One of the older boys smiled and said he felt just like one of Jesus’ disciples. When we were finished with all of the 120 children’s feet, we were covered in the red mud of Kenyan soil that had come off of the children’s feet and where we were sitting, and so the teachers took our places and began to wash us. I have never experienced such a beautiful act of humility. It was a moment none of us will ever forget.
We gathered everyone together and sang Waka Waka with the kids for the last time. Everyone joined in a prayer of blessings over St. Kizito’s, and then it was time for us to leave. We will never forget the hundreds of hugs and kisses from every child and teacher. I think most of us were crying before we even left the gate. As I hugged a dear friend and teacher, Rose told me “Mountains don’t meet, but people will,” which is an old African saying. The people of St. Kizito’s are some of the most hospitable and loving people we have ever met. All of our months of fundraising, petitions to churches, meetings, and e-mails culminated in this moment as we hugged our dear friends goodbye and the emotions of our time with St. Kizito’s overwhelmed us. I can personally say that I have never been so affected by a place before, and I know that this passion does not end with our return to the U.S. There is something much deeper to our relationship with St. Kizito’s and God is not finished with our work there. Our time at St. Kizito’s this year only ignited a deeper passion in both the old and new girls to help this place. This is only the beginning.
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~Posted by Hayley